PITTSBURGH — Gerrit Cole wasn't feeling nervous in the hours leading up to his major league debut. And that made him nervous.
"I couldn't understand it," Cole said. "It made me a little worried."
Cole had nothing to be worried about as he took a shutout into the seventh inning and hit a two-run single in his first at-bat Tuesday night, leading the Pittsburgh Pirates to an 8-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants in front of a festive crowd.
The top pick in the 2011 draft, Cole allowed two runs and seven hits in 6 1-3 innings after being called up from Triple-A Indianapolis earlier in the day. He began his highly touted career with a three-pitch strikeout — all 96 mph fastballs — of Gregor Blanco and struck out two overall. He did not walk a batter.
"Really, I couldn't have asked for anything better," Cole said. "The guys played great defense and we scored a lot runs. I was able to take us pretty deep into the game and I even got lucky and got a hit. It's tough to draw it up any better than this."
Pedro Alvarez went 3 for 3 with a home run to back Cole. Starling Marte also homered and Andrew McCutchen and Russell Martin had two hits each.
San Francisco put two runners on in the first and loaded the bases in the second against Cole (1-0) but failed to score in either inning.
Cole then set down 13 in a row, starting with Marco Scutaro's flyout to end the second. The Giants finally broke through in the seventh inning but the Pirates had built a 5-0 lead by then.
"There was no deer-in-the-headlight look from him at all," Pirates second baseman Neil Walker said. "He worked quick, he worked efficiently, he threw strikes and that is all good things for a defense. He's a lot more polished than a lot of guys who have gotten their start in the big leagues."